Best Overall

Premium Active Pen (PN579X)

Best Value

Active Pen (PN557W)

Dell's Premium Active Pen is the cream of the crop when it comes to digital styluses. It combines excellent functionality with plenty of useful features. However, the price may be too high for some.

$100 at Dell

Pros

  • Two times the pressure sensitivity
  • Three programmable buttons
  • Tilt support
  • Support for MPP devices

Cons

  • More expensive

The standard Active Pen isn't nearly as high-end as the Premium model, but it's much more affordable, and it still gives you great performance as far as digital pen basics go, making it a great value pick.

$65 at Dell

Pros

  • More affordable
  • Great basic functionality

Cons

  • Less pressure sensitivity
  • Less features and versatility

The Premium Active Pen is the best overall digital stylus you can get from Dell, offering a wide range of helpful features on top of fantastic basic functionality. However, it's expensive, so only people who are planning to do advanced things like create artwork should opt for it. People who are planning on more simple tasks like taking notes or jotting down a schedule should go with the regular Active Pen instead, as it offers great basic functionality for a much lower price.

Premium vs. Regular: More functionality or lower price?

The Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1 with a Premium Active Pen.

Overall, the main thing you need to consider when choosing between these two digital styluses is whether or not you want to spend the extra money in order to get your hands on all of the great things that the Premium Active Pen has to offer.

The 4,098 levels of pressure sensitivity is amazing for people who like to draw, especially if you're making artwork for a job. It gives you the ability to perform incredibly nuanced strokes that a simpler pen simply cannot do. The fact that it can be used while tilted is also a big plus, as this further opens the door for artists to use advanced shading techniques or fill in the edges of the screen easier.

The extra programmable button is helpful too, and the fact that the Premium Active Pen works with Microsoft Pen Protocol (MPP) devices in addition to AES 1.0 and 2.0 ones like the Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1 means that you can use it across a wide range of machines, which gives you versatility and the ability to save money on an MPP stylus down the line.

Premium Active Pen Active Pen
Pressure sensitivity levels 4,096 2,048
Programmable buttons 3 2
Tilt support Yes No
Supported device types AES 1.0 and 2.0, Microsoft Pen Protocol (MPP) AES 1.0
Magnetic connection Yes Yes

Don't count out the regular Active Pen, though. The 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity is nothing to scoff at, and while it won't be ideal for artists, it's perfect for note-taking, schedule-planning, simple doodling, and web browsing. In addition, having two programmable buttons instead of three is a little disappointing, but those two buttons will still come in very handy. Also, it's considerably less expensive, so if you don't need anything super advanced, the standard Active Pen is a wonderful way to save money.

Best overall

Premium Active Pen (PN579X)

Best of the best

Dell's Premium Active Pen is the cream of the crop when it comes to digital styli. However, the price may be too high for some.

Best value

Active Pen (PN557W)

Bang for your buck

The standard Active Pen isn't nearly as high-end as the Premium model, but it's more affordable, making it a great value pick.

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